The majority of job search-related early communication occurs via email rather than in person and over the phone.  From resume submissions and applications to setting appointments and phone screens while on the go, email is likely to be the job seeker’s primary method of communicating with recruiters and hiring companies.  Email seems to be a fool-proof concept, but when handling something as sensitive and important as your career, it’s crucial to take extra steps to ensure you’re presenting yourself professionally. Several slip-ups can easily occur in the process of sending a quick email that can take quite the toll on a person’s overall impression, level of professionalism and common sense.

No matter how short and sweet or long and detailed an email, make sure to avoid these mistakes before you click “send”:

Things to Consider:

  • Be careful when selecting “reply” or “reply all” – this can suddenly make private messages a very public one!
  • Longer email messages can sometimes seem intimidating – try to keep communication regarding employment situations easy, short, and to the point.
  • Shorter email messages can be difficult to understand if written in fragments and choppy, short sentences – ensure that your point is concise and clear.
  • Subject lines should be easy to understand and accurately represent what the email is regarding.
  • Use Acronyms sparingly. When describing skills and certifications, keep acronyms and abbreviations to a minimum to avoid any potential misunderstanding.
  • Remember that emails can be tracked, saved, forwarded, and printed. Don’t send anything you’ll possibly regret later (overly aggressive messages, anything with curse words or negativity toward a person or company, etc.
  • Attach the right files. When trying to attach a file to an email quickly, especially from a mobile device, you just might select that embarrassing vacation photo as opposed to your resume. (It’s a great idea to name your files, too!)


Always take one final look at the entire email before sending. This includes the “to” and “cc”/”bcc” fields, subject line, and the entire body of the email.  Be wary of forwarding messages rather than replying, and vice versa. Check spelling, grammar, and any numerical characters (phone numbers, email addresses, mailing addresses, salary information, etc.) to ensure information is correct.